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6.4/10
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17 user 12 critic

Day of the Fight (1951)

After a short study of boxing's history, narrated by newscaster Douglas Edwards, we follow a day in the life of a middleweight Irish boxer named Walter Cartier.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writer:

Robert Rein (narration script)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Douglas Edwards ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Nat Fleischer Nat Fleischer ... Himself - Boxing Historian
Walter Cartier Walter Cartier ... Himself - Boxer
Vincent Cartier Vincent Cartier ... Himself - Walter's Twin Brother and Manager
Bobby James Bobby James ... Himself - Boxer
Dan Stampler Dan Stampler ... Himself - Owner of The Steak Joint
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Storyline

The appeal of boxing to a fan is explained before the question is asked: what is the appeal of boxing as a career? Some of the many negatives of it as a career are the inherent violence, that it only has a limited shelf life as it is a job for the young, the fact that only one percent of the six thousand professional boxers in the United States makes a good living at it, and that making a good living is predicated on an improving record which means always needing to win. It is perhaps that last point which draws many to it as a career: that want to be the best in a competitive environment. A day on the job of one such boxer is presented, twenty-four year old middleweight Walter Cartier. This day on the job will end with a bout, which will either improve his earning potential through a win, or lessen it with a loss. Some of what Walter has to go through this day are legal in ensuring he meets all the state requirements to go into the bout. But most of the day is spent on mental and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 March 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

This Is America: Day of the Fight See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,900 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO-Pathe See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It cost Stanley Kubrick $3,900 to make and he sold it (to RKO) for $4,000. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Time is a strange thing when you have a little of it and you want it to last, it scatters away in all directions and you never know where it's gone. Twenty four years are a long time, but in a way that's gone pretty quickly for a couple of boys. It's only when you want the hours to go, like now, that time as a way of staring you in the face as it barely moves along.
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Alternate Versions

When RKO obtained the film for their "This Is America" series, they added about four minutes of new material to the beginning of the film, making the short 16 minutes long instead of the original 12 minutes. The opening four minutes with boxing historian Nat Fleischer is markedly different from the rest of the film as if features footage from different boxing matches. The opening was also modified with the credits appearing in different order and the music for the opening was also changed. The majority of the picture is the same until the end. In the last sequence when the knock out happens, the narration is once again changes. Kubrick's original cut features Douglas Edwards talking about personal sacrifice and success. The extended RKO cut removes this portion of the narration and adds new one with Nat Fleischer to better match the opening segment - this narration is about how this fight will go down into the record books. The music at the end was also changed - Gerald Fried's finale cue was moved earlier to match the beginning of the new narration, but because it starts sooner, it doesn't line up with the ending. Thus the new end title card (which adds This is America to the bottom of the card) plays in silence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Raging Bull (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
more than anything a student film- but one with enough to look at
21 March 2006 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

It's true, I would not know anything about this short RKO-type documentary if not for the fact that it was the first time that iconoclast Stanley Kubrick picked up a camera with rolling film stock to be screened in theaters. But as a student filmmaker myself, I find it of the utmost fascination - even when it is in a jittery, ragged print like the one I obtained on video - to see the early, primitive works of famous directors (Last Year in Vietnam by Stone, My Best Friend's Birthday by Tarantino, and Les Mistons by Truffaut are others) and the foundations of style. Day of the Fight, to be sure, is not something of incredible note, and it would not be until the Killing that Kubrick would create a great film. Yet through this film, I was constantly aware- and pleased- by how this very typical kind of story was executed.

In a way, it's almost of more worth to watch this film with the sound off; the narration, while good at getting to know the very basics of this boxer that's being profiled, it's also a distraction and not very revelatory. As just a succession of images, however, it works a lot more. It's the kind of short documentary that is 70% real, and 30% staged, with Kubrick following the boxer and his brother on the streets of New York, leading up to the fight that will bring him recognition. When looking at how Kubrick uses the camera, it seems fairly simple and, for those looking for all of the Kubrick trademarks, disappointing. But in just looking at how he uses the camera, how he gets his subjects in frame, and the importance of composition and the subtleties of lighting, it's really quite good. And the fight sequence, filmed by Kubrick and a friend, has some cut-away shots that almost ring of the future of Scorsese's Raging Bull (though, of course, still primitive).

Is it more of a curiosity, a film for Kubrick die-hard completists looking to have all 16 of his works, docs and features, in their collection? Sure, but it is also one of the better short doc's he made in his formative years, taking a subject he was already interested in (he was a photographer for Look magazine with this boxer under profile) and going a step further. As his sort of film school, this is in terms of the image even more fascinating than the lackluster 'doodle on the fridge' film Fear and Desire.


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